#FOODSOVPRIZE

Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum: 2017 Food Sovereignty Prize Recipient

October 12, 2017
12 Oct 2017

The 2017 World Food Prize has been awarded to Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank. Dr. Adesina promotes a future for African agriculture reliant on chemical fertilizers and patented genetically modified seeds and has been heralded as “Africa’s Norman Borlaug.” In stark contrast, the international recipient of the 2017 Food Sovereignty Prize, Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF), is the voice of over 10,500 peasants struggling for social justice and food sovereignty across Zimbabwe. ZIMSOFF’s main objective is empowering farmers themselves, especially those who work on a small scale, in developing strategies that lead to the reduction of poverty.

The organization encourages and promotes adoption of sustainable technologies, development of value added products, and transition to organic farming. It influences policies and public awareness on agroecology and farmers rights, with particular attention to the participation and leadership of rural women and youth.

ZIMSOFF is especially active in one of the key building blocks of food sovereignty: seed saving. Farmer-managed seed-saving is an age-old practice, and ZIMSOFF says these methods currently provide over 80 percent of the seed used for food production in Zimbabwe. Recognizing that industry control of the food chain begins with control of seed, ZIMSOFF supports breeding of locally-adapted varieties, recovering and re-valuing seed knowledge, and farmer-to-farmer seed exchange. It is a member of the Zimbabwe Seed Sovereignty Programme members, an alliance of seven Zimbabwean civil society organizations working towards greater natoinal seed sovereignty, and the regional Seed and Knowledge Initiative, along with members in South Africa, Malawi, and Zambia.

ZIMSOFF has garnered international recognition for its work on food sovereignty La Via Campesina, the international peasant movement for food sovereignty, has had its International Operative Secretariat based in Zimbabwe with ZIMSOFF since 2013, and ZIMSOFF chairwoman Elizabeth Mpofu was appointed as United Nations Special Ambassador for the International Year of Pulses in 2016. The organization is also a member of the Eastern and Southern Small-Scale Farmers Forum of Africa.

For its farmer-first approach, its dedication to seed preservation and use, and its overall commitment to building Zimbabwe’s food sovereignty, we are pleased to award the 2017 Food Sovereignty Prize to the Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum.

Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance: 2017 Food Sovereignty Prize Recipient

October 12, 2017
12 Oct 2017

Click here for more information and to RSVP for the October 17th  Food Sovereignty Prize Live ceremony.

Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, NAMA, could not be honored with the Food Sovereignty Prize at a better time. An overheated ocean and atmosphere are causing catastrophic weather events nearly weekly. The delicate worldwide equilibrium of climate and ecosystem is at risk.

In this context, family fishermen and other small-scale fisher folk have emerged as key actors in a medium- and long-term reversal of the depletion of fishing stocks and the ecological collapse of the ocean. Mother Nature is extremely resilient, up to a point, and has responded quickly and favorably to even modest restraints made to curb overfishing. And so NAMA has pulled out all the stops to vehemently question and protest the exclusionary privatization and manipulation of fishing quota allowances.

NAMA’s guiding concept, “who fishes matters!” is also a call to action, and the net their work has cast into coastal fishing communities has harvested an abundance of riches: a rapidly growing network of fishing members and allies. But NAMA does not stop there, also becoming a critical member of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance, educating the “land lubbers” among the farmworkers, farmers and urban agriculturalists about the commonalities between land- and sea-based struggles. They have enriched our concept of food sovereignty while sharing strategies for mobilization of their base and timely consciousness-raising interventions in the face of their adversaries. The stress on the importance of fishing locally and spreading the wealth is “thrown down” in a way that is delicious and enlightening (via their creative Seafood Throwndown cooking competitions!).

NAMA trims the sailboat in ways very favorable to a sustainable future of fishing. They walk their talk and practice solidarity with all of us restricted to our shorelines and creek and river beds, our spigots and sprinklers; those of us who find shade in our diverse woodlots and old growth while the NAMA crowd stands happily under rippling sails in the cool breeze of phytoplankton and humpback whale breeding grounds. Long live family fishermen!! Long live local fisheries! Long live food sovereignty! No to market privatization of fish quotas! Yes to a democratization of fishery policy! Farming is to agrarian as fishing is to aquarian; we give gratitude to NAMA for leading us to the Age of Aquarius!

Announcing the 2017 Food Sovereignty Prize

September 26, 2017
26 Sep 2017

2017 Food Sovereignty Prize Live on 10/17/17 to honor grassroots organizations challenging corporate control of the food system

CONTACT: Ahna Kruzic, Director of Publications & Communications, Food First akruzic@foodfirst.org, (510) 927-5379

The US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) is pleased to announce the honorees of the ninth annual Food Sovereignty Prize: Zimbabwe Small Holder Organic Farmers’ Forum (ZIMSOFF) and the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA). The honorees will be awarded the prize on October 17, 2017, at the Food Sovereignty Prize Live ceremony, streamed online at 12PM EDST. The ceremony can be viewed by RSVPing online at bit.ly/2017foodprize.

WHAT: Food Sovereignty Prize Live Ceremony honoring the Zimbabwe Small Holder Organic Farmers’ Forum (ZIMSOFF) and the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA).

WHEN: Tuesday, October 17, 12:00PM EDT

WHERE: RSVP at bit.ly/2017foodprize

This year’s honorees were selected for their success in promoting food sovereignty, agroecology, and social justice to ensure that all people have access to fresh, nutritious food produced in harmony with the planet. Lauded as an alternative to the World Food Prize, the Food Sovereignty Prize champions real solutions to hunger and is recognized by social movements, activists, and community-based organizations around the world. This year’s honorees are tenacious in their resistance to the corporate control of our food system, including false solutions of biotechnology that damage the planet while exacerbating poverty and hunger.

Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF) is the voice of over 10,500 peasants struggling for social justice across Zimbabwe. ZIMSOFF organizes and empowers smallholder farmers practicing sustainable agriculture to improve their livelihoods, and influences policies and public awareness on agroecology and farmers rights. They pay particular attention to the participation and leadership of rural women and youth. ZIMSOFF has a special focus on seeds, promoting seed saving, breeding of locally-adapted varieties, and farmer-to-farmer seed exchanges, including through national and southern Africa regional seed sovereignty networks.

Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA) is a fishermen-led organization working at the intersection of marine conservation and social, economic, and environmental justice. NAMA works to build a movement for a healthy ocean, a just seafood system, and community-based fisheries that are diverse, fair, and equitable for all. NAMA’s mission is to enhance and maintain healthy marine ecosystems by organizing a decentralized network of community-based fishermen, fishworkers, and allies, with the understanding that no one entity can solve the complex environmental-social-economic problems faced by our fishing communities and those whose lives depend on a healthy ocean.

Report-back on 2016 Food Sovereignty Prize Ceremony and Encounter: Our Seeds of International Solidarity

October 20, 2016
20 Oct 2016

Full video of the Ceremony forthcoming!       

Photo Credit: Colette Cosner

Representatives of groups across the US and Africa together for the Food Sovereignty Prize Encounter. Photo Credit: Colette Cosner

Last week, representatives of over 20 organizations gathered in Seattle and Bellingham for several days of dialogue, action, and celebration of the growing food sovereignty movement. The Encounter, co-hosted by Community Alliance for Global Justice and Community to Community Development, was a national gathering of the US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA). On Saturday, we honored Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa and Farmworkers Association of Floridaas recipients of the 8th Annual Food Sovereignty Prize, awarded by the USFSA.

As an alternative to the World Food Prize awarded the same weekend in Iowa, the Food Sovereignty Prize recognizes that transformation of our food system comes from the grassroots, frontlines, and communities building power – not corporate, biotech, and Big Ag industries focused on profit over people and the planet. Coming together for the Prize and events was an opportunity to reflect on strengthening our organizing and advocacy for agroecology, food as a human right, dignity for workers across the food chain, and community-led solutions to hunger and climate change.

Photo Credit: Project Feed the Hood

Photo Credit: Project Feed the Hood

Roundtable Meetings

With banners and signs reflecting messages of the movement in the center of a circle, folks gathered Wednesday night and Thursday at the WA State Labor Council to discuss the current political moment of the USFSA and the new methodology being proposed for building up grassroots leadership and regional structure in the Alliance. Present were both members and non-members of the USFSA, including the local hosts and local groups Got Green, UFCW 21, Washington Fair Trade Coalition, WA State Food Systems Roundtable, WA Sustainable Food and Farming Network; and groups throughout the US: CATA – The Farmworkers Support Committee (NJ, MD, PA), Climate Justice Alliance, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (MI), Dreaming Out Loud (D.C.), Family Farm Defenders (WI), Farmworker Association of Florida (FL), Food First (CA), Grassroots International (MA), National Family Farm Coalition (D.C.), Presbyterian Hunger Program (KY), Rural Community Workers Alliance (MO), Soil Generation (PA), Southwest Organizing Project/Project Feed the Hood (NM), US Friends of the MST (IL), VietLead (PA), and WhyHunger (NY). International groups included: Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa and La Via Campesina.

In the roundtable meetings, including an added final session on Saturday, important issues around defining “grassroots” and “grassroots-support” organizations and their roles, regional autonomy, and value of the USFSA were discussed, as well as lifting up the interconnected struggles between AFSA and USFSA.

Photo Credit: Johanna Lundahl

Rallying outside of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Photo Credit: Johanna Lundahl

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Brandy Brooks of Dream Out Loud (D.C.) rallies the crowd. Photo Credit: Johanna Lundahl

Gates Foundation Action

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Protestors march with signs, “We Trust Small Farmers NOT Big Ag!” Photo Credit: Johanna Lundahl

The gathering would not have been complete without an action and visits to local organizing and food justice work. On Thursday afternoon, attendees and other activists mobilized outside of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to raise issue with the Foundation’s deep ties to the World Food Prize, which includes significant financial contributions to half of the 2016 winners and nearly $1.5 million in funding since 2009. Gates exports a model of market-based, high-tech agricultural investments and genetic engineering and biotechnology. In an interview with Humanosphere on the action, Bern Guri, Chairman of AFSA who came to receive the Prize on its behalf, says:  “Food sovereignty is about farmers’ communities being in charge, being able to produce the food they want to produce, to be able to use the seed that they want to grow, to be able to share their seeds among themselves, to be able to use the technologies that they believe work for them.”

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On a tour of the farmworker fields and labor camps where FUJ is organizing. Photo Credit: Community to Community Development

Food Sovereignty Tours

Photo Credit: Community to Community Development

Rosalinda Guillen, Edgar Franks, Ramon Torres, and Maru Mora Villalpando of Community to Community Development and Familias Unidas por la Justicia. Photo Credit: Community to Community Development

The next day, the attendees traveled to Skagit Valley to be welcomed by Community to Community Development and farmworkers’ union Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ) with a presentation on the recent victories of winning an historic union contract as the state’s first indigenous-led farmworker union and getting to the contract negotiation process with Sakuma Farms, which sells to the world’s largest berry distributer, Driscoll’s. Ramon Torres, President of FUJ, shared the history of the organizing and the hopes for the future, followed by a tour of the Sakuma fields and labor camps where farmworkers live. A surprise visit with one of the main plaintiffs of the law suit against Sakuma happened just before folks drove to Bellingham to meet with a local co-op that supported the Driscoll’s boycott.

Saturday’s weather forecast of the “storm of the century” caused a shift of plans, despite the mild outcome. A tour of the Beacon Food Forest remained in the program, where folks visited the local urban forest garden working to improve public health and food access.

 

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Bern Guri of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa and Elvira Carvajal of the Farmworker Association of Florida. Photo Credit: Colette Cosner

Food Sovereignty Prize Award Ceremony

The main event of the Food Sovereignty Prize Award Ceremony was cancelled at Town Hall due to the threat of wind storms and power outages, and relocated to the home of CAGJ’s Director Heather Day, where the show went on in a more intimate setting, and was livestreamed on Facebook.

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Enjoying the reception! Photo Credit: Colette Cosner

The ceremony opened with storytelling from Roger Fernandes, a member of the Lower Elwha Band of the S’Klallam Indians, sharing about the connection of food to our ancestors, our people, and those yet to come. After a keynote by John Peck, representing La Via Campesina, the 2016 recipients were awarded, both giving enthusiastic and powerful remarks: Elvira Carvajal on behalf of Farmworker Association of Florida, and Bern Guri on behalf of Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa. The evening concluded with a lively reception, music, and celebration. (View more photos; Read South Seattle Emerald’s account.)

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Bern Guri of the AFSA and Tirso Moreno of FWAF. Photo Credit: Colette Cosner

Food Sovereignty Prize Winner: Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa

October 14, 2016
14 Oct 2016

By Johanna Lundahl, AGRA Watch Intern

Originally posted (https://agrawatch.wordpress.com/2016/10/13/food-sovereignty-prize-winner-alliance-for-food-sovereignty-in-africa)

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) works to influence policy in Africa around community rights, family farming, promotion of traditional knowledge, the environment and natural resource management. This Saturday, October 15th, AFSA, along with the US-based Farmworkers Association of Florida, will be awarded the 2016 Food Sovereignty Prize by the US Food Sovereignty Alliance. AFSA will be honored for its work in building a strong movement of people directly impacted by expanding corporate agriculture, including land and water grabs, and advancing food production systems controlled by food producers, making nutritious food produced in harmony with planet available to everyone.

Bernard Guri, Chairperson of AFSA, who will accept the Food Sovereignty Prize on its behalf, explains in a press release  that traditional, more stable, and environmentally-friendly African agriculture is under attack from foreign corporations’ business interests: “Africa has a myriad of ways to feed her people and to keep her environment safe. However, a few international corporations from the global North have generated approaches strictly for their own profit by misleading our leaders and our people, stealing our seeds and culture, and destroying our environment.”

In response, AFSA is working toward the transition of agroecology over industrial agricultural methods. In July, it release its Theory of Change that articulates its short and long-term goals and the need for sustainability, resilience, and agricultural biodiversity in farming systems in the face of climate change.

Formed in 2008, AFSA has 25 member organizations who work together to strengthen the movements for food sovereignty and agroecology across Africa through its three primary work areas: Lands Grabs, Seed Sovereignty, and Agroecology. Members include Friends of the Earth Africa, the Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Development (CIKOD), The African Biodiversity Network (ABN), La Via Campesina, and the African Center for Biodiversity(ACB), among others. AFSA has long been a partner of AGRA Watch. Several AFSA leaders participated in the 2014 Africa-US Food Sovereignty Strategy Summit, which CAGJ/AGRA Watch hosted in Seattle.

AFSA champions small family farming and production systems based on agroecological and indigenous approaches that lead to food sovereignty and sustainable community livelihoods. To resist the corporate industrialization of African agriculture, which results in land grabbing and the destruction of indigenous biodiversity, ecosystems, livelihoods, and cultures, ASFA sees that, “the time for agroecology and food sovereignty is now”.

2016 Food Sovereignty Prize Ceremony to honor grassroots organizations challenging corporate control of the food system at 10/15/16 ceremony in Seattle, WA

October 12, 2016
12 Oct 2016

SEATTLE, WA – The US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) is pleased to announce the honorees of the eighth annual Food Sovereignty Prize – the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) and the Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF). The honorees will be awarded the prize in Seattle, Washington on October 15th, 2016 at the Food Sovereignty Prize awards ceremony.

WHAT: Food Sovereignty Prize awards ceremony honoring the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) and the Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF).

WHEN: Saturday, October 15th, 6PM

WHERE: Town Hall Forum, Eight and Seneca St., Seattle, Washington or tune in via Facebook livestream at https://www.facebook.com/USFoodSovAlliance/

This year’s honorees were selected for their success in promoting food sovereignty, agroecology, and social justice to ensure that all people have access to fresh, nutritious food produced in harmony with the planet. Lauded as an alternative to the World Food Prize, the Food Sovereignty Prize champions real solutions to hunger and is recognized by social movements, activists, and community-based organizations around the world. This year’s honorees are strident in their resistance to the corporate control of our food system, including false solutions of biotechnology that damage the planet while exacerbating poverty and hunger.

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) was founded in 2008 by a group of activist networks and launched in Durban, South Africa. AFSA brings together organizations representing smallholder farmers, pastoralists, and hunger/gatherers, indigenous peoples, and more from across Africa. Together, they advocate for community rights and family farming while promoting traditional knowledge systems and protecting natural resources.

The Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF), founded in 1986, has a long-standing mission to build power among farmworker and rural, low-income communities to gain control over the social, political, workplace, economic, health, and environmental justice issues affecting their lives. Their guiding vision is a social environment in which farmworkers are treated as equals, not exploited and deprived based on race, ethnicity, immigrant status, or socioeconomic status.

Join the US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) as we honor the 2016 Food Sovereignty Prize Recipients at the eighth annual Food Sovereignty Prize awards Ceremony

Food Sovereignty Prize Protest Ties Gates Foundation to World Food Prize

October 12, 2016
12 Oct 2016

By Simone Adler, Community Alliance for Global Justice

(Originally posted on: http://cagj.org/2016/10/food-sovereignty-prize-protest-ties-gates-foundation-to-world-food-prize/)

SEATTLE, WA – Activists from around the world gather in Seattle this week to honor grassroots organizations and leaders in the food sovereignty movement. On Saturday, they will come together for the Food Sovereignty Prize, an alternative to the World Food Prize which is awarded this weekend in Iowa. On Thursday, the Food Sovereignty Prize winners and activists with AGRA Watch will mobilize outside of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to protest the oppressive food systems they support, that puts corporate profit, biotech, and market expansion over food sovereignty, small farmers, and agroecology.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has deep ties to the World Food Prize and the controversial model of global food security it promotes, particularly through the Foundation’s high-tech, industrial agricultural development model. The Gates Foundation is a primary donor to half of the recipients of the 2016 World Food Prize. One recipient is funded for  a crop biofortification program throughout Africa; another received $21 million for a project of the  Gates’-fundedAlliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, focused on positioning genetically engineered sweet potatoes in the food economies of 17 African countries. A director from the Gates Foundation will be speaking at the Iowa prize events (along with representatives from groups that have been called out for their human rights and environmental abuses, including Nestlé, Syngenta, DuPont, USAID, and the World Bank). The Gates Foundation has funded the World Food Prize since 2009, granting nearly $1.5 million.

To lift up the grassroots solutions and movements protecting food, land, seeds, and water, the 2016 Food Sovereignty Prize, awarded by the US Food Sovereignty Alliance, goes to the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa and the Farmworkers Association of Florida. These groups of farmworkers, small-holder and family farmers promote food sovereignty, agroecology and social justice to ensure that all people have access to fresh, nutritious food produced in harmony with the planet.

“We have a vision to bring together the community around the art of healing with good food and herbs, which is part of our culture. We practice agroecology in the community by sharing the knowledge we bring from our grandparents, our mothers, our families, our ancestors,” says Elvira Carvajal, Farmworker Association of Florida’s lead organizer.

“Africa has a myriad of ways to feed her people and to keep her environment safe. However, a few international corporations from the global North have generated approaches strictly for their own profit by misleading our leaders and our people, stealing our seeds and culture, and destroying our environment,” explains Bern Guri, the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa’s chairperson.

Thursday’s action is not in isolation. Last week, New York farmers sent a letter to Cornell University demanding the eviction of the Alliance for Science, for which the Gates Foundation provides $5.6 million, due to its biased promotion of biotechnology and genetically engineering without criticism or evaluation of other agricultural systems and technologies. This week, a people’s assembly is organizing at The Hague during the International Tribunal on Monsanto to hold Monsanto accountable for human rights violations and ecocide. The Gates Foundation has partnered with Monsanto on projects such as genetically engineered corn in African markets, trapping farmers in cyclical debt for the expensive seeds.

What: A protest of the Gates Foundation’s ties to the World Food Prize, highlighting the global increase in food insecurity, poverty, and environmental damage worsened by the exploitative model of market-based, high-tech agricultural investments and false solutions of genetic engineering and biotechnology. Representatives of the Food Sovereignty Prize winners will speak to the power of grassroots food sovereignty and agroecology to end hunger and feed the planet.

Where: In front of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: 440 5th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

When: 3-4pm, Thursday October 13th

Who: Food Sovereignty Prize recipients and food sovereignty activists from AGRA Watch in Seattle and around the globe.

Visuals will include people holding large banners, flags, art, and a display of agroecological symbols.

Background on Gates Foundation controversial investments in Africa and biotechnology: http://cagj.org/agra-watch/resources/.

Now in its eighth year, the Food Sovereignty Prize ceremony is a free event and will take place this Saturday at Town Hall in Seattle from 6-9pm. More information on the prize and ceremony can be found here: http://bit.ly/2e3U8GQ.

Resisting Land Grabs in Ghana: A Success Story

October 3, 2016
03 Oct 2016

By Johanna Lundahl, AGRA Watch Intern
(Originally posted on: https://agrawatch.wordpress.com/2016/09/20/resisting-land-grabs-in-ghana-a-success-story/)

“When local leaders became aware of the mining company’s plans to prospect, they already had the tools to articulate concerns to the community and the knowledge that they had the right to say no.”

 Photo Credit: Rose Oppong, CIKOD

Photo Credit: Rose Oppong, CIKOD

In late August Caritas Ghana, a catholic humanitarian organization, along with the National Catholic Secretariat, and the Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD) published a joint report called Unmasking Land Grabs In Ghana; Restoring Livlihoods; Paving the Way for Sustainable Development Goals. The report is an overview of the issue of land grabs in Africa generally and more specifically Ghana, with an in depth look at three case studies. The cases show varying degrees of exploitation of the local communities, lack of transparency in the initial negotiations, and the socio economic interests of local people suffering as a result of a corporation’s actions. The final report was compiled by Samuel Zan Akologo of Caritas Ghana, and Bernard Guri, Executive Director of CIKOD.

CIKOD is a member of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), who will receive the Food Sovereignty Prize in Seattle on October 15th, awarded by the US Food Sovereignty Alliance and hosted by CAGJ/AGRA Watch at Town Hall (register here). Bernard Guri, Executive Director of CIKOD, is the Chair of AFSA, and will be in Seattle to accept the prize on behalf of AFSA.

A full chapter of the report is dedicated to the success story about the efforts of CIKOD assisting the Tanchara community in the Upper West side of Ghana in resisting Azuma Resources, an Australian mining company which had been given concessions by the government to prospect for gold in the region. CIKOD began working with this community in 2003, helping advocate on its behalf when the government allocated mining contracts without consultation, or permission from the people who traditionally lived on and used that land. CIKOD’s organizing was key to helping this community resist the company’s plans.

CIKOD used several endogenous development tools that were aimed at strengthening the organizational capacity of the community, to make decisions about governing its natural resources for the community’s benefit, and for the benefit of future generations. With the community’s consent, CIKOD engaged in mapping the community’s formal and informal institutions, assets and resources. Identifying the community’s cultural, social, and spiritual natural resources helped motivate members of the community to preserve what made it unique and strong, focusing on what the community already had versus what it didn’t. The Community Institutional Resources Mapping (CIRM) process helped community members and CIKOD start a conversation about whether mining in the community represented  an opportunity, or a threat.

When local leaders became aware of the mining company’s plans to prospect, they already had the tools to articulate concerns to the community and the knowledge that they had the right to say no. After 2007, CIKOD engaged the community using a Community-Driven Health Impact Assessment Tool (CHIAT), where they mapped the most likely local impacts of mining. Using the intel they had gathered, community members had the knowledge to raise specific concerns at a forum with the mining company, as well as at other community workshops and meetings, where government officials could be present.

CIKOD also assisted the community to produce a document titled the Tanchara BioCultural Community Protocol, where they identified their community goals, using information from the previous community surveys, the CIRM and the CHIAT. The Protocol detailed the local government and organization’s decision making processes, outlining their concerns with the mining plans. The Protocol  explained that the community was aware of regional, and international laws protecting their community institutions, and that they had the right to say no. Armed with clear goals, community leaders met with Azumah representatives in 2013.They presented the Tanchara Protocol, asking Azumah to respect their wishes. Due to these efforts, Azumah did. Since that time, Azumah hasn’t approached the community. CIKOD’s use of tools that strengthened the community institutions in place worked brilliantly. Helping raise awareness, identify objections, and engage local and international forces allowed them to tell the mining company that they were not welcome, stopping a land grab before it could become a story of exploitation.

 

The Revolution is Community

September 28, 2016
28 Sep 2016

The “world hunger” discussion – certainly in the media – focuses on the overdeveloped nations and wealthy individuals figuring out how to help and provide resources for less industrialized nations to feed themselves. Whether it’s the G8, Monsanto, the Gates Foundation, or any other corporate entity, their answer to solving world hunger includes economic growth and some new agriculture technology. Both of those solutions are misinformed and unnecessary. The solution is actually quite simple; the people experiencing hunger probably know the answer better than most. World hunger will cease to be an issue when all people have the right to produce and share food as they see fit.

When examined from a political lens, world hunger is fundamentally a power issue. Governments have co-opted the power of their people in order to join the rat race of capitalism; corporations also deceive governments and people with false promises of a better quality of life once they’re given permission to establish themselves. The creation of world hunger probably began with the onslaught of colonialism and continues with the perpetuation of neoliberalism through trade agreements and more militarized foreign affairs. In both cases, stable populations of people are coerced into divesting of power, which leads to increased dependence on global forces.

Local people power can neither be measured by weapons technology nor GDP.  Rather, the power of a community can be qualified by the health of individuals and their bonds with one another. When a group of people is healthy and has strong relationships built on trust, it possesses resilience. Food production gives people the power to sustain themselves. Moreover, a society that supports agriculture that is healing to the Earth and its people is arguably the fundamental building block of civilization. Regarding world hunger, it is clear that widespread starvation is the result of taking a population and individuals’ ability to feed themselves.

With this understanding, it is encouraging to know the solution to hunger is clear; give the power back. Stated differently, countries and corporations must acknowledge and allow populations of people to have food sovereignty. Via Campesina, the world’s strongest grassroots organization fighting for food sovereignty defines it as “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.” As simple as it sounds, there is strong opposition to the food sovereignty movement. Such a model does not play into and benefit the profit driven model so many countries and companies adhere to.

Nonetheless, the movement has been named and defined and people all over the world are pursuing it. More importantly, groups of people are organizing collectively, and one organization doing that in the United States is the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA). The USFSA is dedicated to ending poverty and bringing forth more democratic control over the food system locally, nationally, and globally. The alliance also hosts the Food Sovereignty Prize, an annual event that honors organizations leading the food sovereignty movement.

This years honorees are the Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF) and the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA). Both organizations are challenging systems of oppression through organizing people experiencing injustice in the food system. They also practice principles of agroecology, which seek to incorporate culture, activism, and ecologically sound practices into food production. Thanks to the efforts of AFSA and FWAF world hunger is not simply being addressed by feeding people or making them conform to foreign food production techniques. These grassroots organizations are building resilient communities and recognizing the power and dignity of the people they serve.

See this post here.

Food And Hunger: Which Prize Takes The Prize?

September 19, 2016
19 Sep 2016

by Bill Ayres, Huffington Post

Image result for huffington post

September 16, 2016

Doctor Norman Borlaug the Father of the Green Revolution founded the World Food Prize in 1986 to promote the work of scientists and agricultural organizations that promote the production of food through technology. Over the years the prize has been given to dozens of top agricultural scientists and organizations which have pioneered biotechnological solutions for increasing food production, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Yet the solutions and science honored at these ceremonies aren’t solving the hunger problem in our world.

The Food Sovereignty Prize begun in 2009 to champion social movements, activists and community-based organizations around the world working to ensure that all people have access to fresh, nutritious food produced in harmony with the planet. Food Sovereignty means that people should be able to grow, eat and sell their own food in the manner they choose. Members believe that increased dependence on technology, as heralded in the World Food Prize honorees, in the form of pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, and GMO seeds is not the answer to hunger and food production. Control of the food system by large corporations is not the way to protect the environment and decrease hunger and poverty. Access to land, clean water, native seeds and fair markets as well as protection from land grabs and state-sponsored violence are what small farmers need. Millions of small farmers have embraced agroecology, a method of growing food sustainably that combines the best of traditional agriculture with many of the best new agricultural breakthroughs that are affordable and safe for the environment, the food and the farmers. It is a way of life in which whole communities come together to share resources and learn from one another.

The Food Sovereignty Prize celebrates the achievements of organizations that have succeeded in growing food and promoting economic and social justice often in the face of oppression and violence from large landholders and repressive governments.

This year, the Eighth Annual Food Sovereignty Prize will honor The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), which brings together a number of different constituencies: small farmers, pastoralists, hunter/gatherers, indigenous peoples, women, youth, consumer networks, people of faith and environmental activists in the fight for food sovereignty. Small farmers and the poorest of the poor have a strong voice in the Alliance for Food Sovereignty against land and water grabs and for a more just system for its members. As Bern Guri, AFSA chairperson, noted in the official press release, “Africa has a myriad of ways to feed her people and to keep her environment safe. However, a few international corporations from the global North have generated approaches strictly for their own profit by misleading our leaders and our people, stealing our seeds and culture, and destroying our environment.”

Also receiving the prize is the Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF). Farmworkers all over the U.S. have been unjustly treated for years and those in Florida have suffered from low wages, unsafe working conditions, sexual violence in the fields and illnesses from agricultural chemicals. FWAF has helped farmworkers to gain control of the economic, social, health, workplace and political issues they face such as racism, pesticide exposure, environmental contamination and economic exploitation. It has brought people together in communities to practice agroecology and bring healing to the communities through good food and herbs.

Elvira Carvajal, FWAF lead organizer in Homestead, Florida explains, “We have a vision to bring together the community around the art of healing with good food and herbs, which is part of our culture. We practice agroecology in the community by sharing the knowledge we bring from our grandparents, our mothers, our families, our ancestors. The meeting of cultures that happens in the gardens, where we grow our own food without chemicals, and sharing plants and traditions and knowledge across generations is a beautiful thing. I am proud of our own people practicing food and seed sovereignty.”

The Food Sovereignty Prize ceremony, free and open to the public, will be held this year for the first time in Seattle at Town Hall on Saturday, October 15 at 6 PM hosted by the US Food Sovereignty Alliance, Community to Community Development and Community Alliance for Global Justice. Learn more at foodsovprize.org

Which prize really takes the prize? The World Food Prize certainly has more powerful people supporting it and is a much richer prize. The Food Sovereignty Prize will, in the long run, change the food system and help feed more people with healthier food with less cost to the environment. That is a prize beyond compare.

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